Thoughts from PYT, Day 1

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Today is the first official day of Presbyterian Youth Triennium, though it’s my second day here and several of the behind the scenes people have been here longer. I intended to blog last night, but the travel and training left me the kind of tired that is happy but hopeless when it comes to making sense with words. By me not writing those thoughts, you missed out on God being “I AM” and me being “I amn’t.” There as going to be a cute story about me as a toddler telling my mom things like “I amn’t going” followed by a metaphor that God is all the things I can’t be, yet I am still someone to God. Or maybe I would have gone the route of needing to define someone by who they are and not by who they are not. There could have been a list of things I don’t do (hug frequently, dance well, have a sense of direction) contrasted with the things I more often do (rhyme, banter, teach and share). So yeah, that’s the blog post that wasn’t.

Tonight as I reflect on the first bit of actual Triennium, I’m proud of Presbyterians. I think this is going to be a fantastic week, enveloped in great theme lived out in a variety of ways. I’m impressed at the breadth of activities and I’m equally impressed with the potential depth of the written and unwritten curriculum. It’s impossible to know how the youth and adults will react to things they see, hear and experience this week but I am eager to be a part of this triennium.

In closing (because I need to write on my small group banner and sort out tomorrow’s supplies and call my husband and SLEEP), I offer you the 10 things I’m looking forward to about this week of Presbyterian Youth Triennium:

1. Getting to know the individuals that make up the small group I will lead– I’m pretty sure one of the adults on my list was a fellow adult advisor in the small group I was assigned to back in 2007. How crazy is that?

2. Experiencing the cumulative creativity of a body of people– so much opportunity for large scale art and worship completely inspires me.

3. The shower at the end of every day– seriously, the sweat level today and yesterday is RIDICULOUS. I forget how good it feels to be clean.

4. Joining random conversations– I’m a straggler when walking to and from places. The community of stragglers as we trod on sore feet from place to place leads to great conversation. Just knowing someone else is walking beside you can totally turn a day or brief walk around.

5. Reconnecting with familiar people from previous Presby experiences. The PC(USA) is sometimes a huge, fascinating web of friends and mutual friends.

6. Finding out just how many people have the PC(USA) cross tattoo. Seriously. I’ve seen 5 already. I still have 4 days to go.

7. Worship with such a large group of people– there are more people attending PYT than live in my hometown. I get to watch Brianna (a high school youth from my church) help serve communion to everyone later this week. I get to watch Maddy (another high school youth from my church) experience a kind of church she’s never seen. I AM SO EXCITED.

8. Watching Clara be a part of the team behind this event– Clara is a 2013 high school grad from my church and she’s on the planning team and she’s so official here and she’s so cool and mature and brave for taking on a strange and wonderful role here. One of my favorite parts of Triennium is how the teens have meaningful, active participation in everything. They help run this event. Why don’t they help run our congregations or presbyteries more? They need that connection almost as much as churches need their passion and energy. /soapbox

9. Food. This is a guilt-free week. I walk so much everywhere and don’t have time for snacks so I pretty much scarf down a dessert at every meal with no guilt whatsoever. Tonight it was called something crazy like Wild Berry Pie. SOOOOO good.

10. The unexpected. I suppose some might call that the work of the Holy Spirit. Stuff happens like Jessie sitting next to me on the shuttle bus from the airport and me sitting by her at training later and us discovering our small group rooms today. I’m very aware that because of so much planning and maybe in spite of it, we are all a little more aware of the actions of God this week. I feel completely open and ready to listen for the first time in months.

I’m going to try to blog every night this week. If you don’t care about large denominational youth gatherings, this might be a good week to ignore me. You’ve been told. 🙂

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